In the United Kingdom, football is by far the most popular sport for betting. For several years, this has been the case, with the sport sometimes known as soccer overtaking horse racing due to the fact that In-Play betting and multiple markets ultimately offer customers more choice.
Horse racing still remains strong as the 2016 Cheltenham Festival testified, with the Grand National, Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood continuing to fly the flag and the summer months see football punters return to the racetrack when there is no soccer action.
However, a clear third in the sporting ranks is tennis. Not golf, cricket, rugby union, rugby league, basketball or any other American sports. The sport of tennis is massively popular with betting customers and there are several reasons why this is the case.
It should also be noted that tennis is a global sport that is appreciated in all four corners of the world. It might require privilege or coaching from a youthful age to make it as a professional but it doesn’t diminish the mass appeal of a sport, which has always been easy on the eye for spectators.
In addition to being popular globally, tennis also takes place nearly every week of the year. The WTA and ATP tours never stop, while there are also secondary tournaments in addition to the competitions where you’ll see the big guns participating.
Tennis is probably the sport that has benefitted the most from In-Play betting. Previously to the advance of this concept, then customers could put together a tasty little accumulator with players who might win their respective matches.
There were probably also a handful of markets available such as Correct Set Score, Set Handicap and Total Sets, although that was probably the limit when it came to tennis betting until the bookmakers cottoned on to the fact that live wagering was an ideal way to capture a bigger market share.
Now you can bet on pretty much anything happening during a live tennis match. Visit a bookmaker site such as Paddy Power, William Hill or Sky Bet right now and there’s a decent chance there will be live tennis taking place.
You might think an obscure ITF match between Quentin Halys and Yannick Hanfmann would mean the token live In-Play tennis betting market available although bet365 were serving up a dozen live markets that were changing with the serving of every ball.
In addition to the match winner, you can bet on the current set winner. Then there is the point winner in a particular game which essentially means that you could place hundreds of In-Play bets on a tennis match if that was your particular desire.
The tennis betting sites have traders to monitor matches In-Play and the markets are adjusted accordingly, with several bookmakers actually displaying graphics for what is happening on the court.
Which brings us on to tennis live streaming. For several years, many betting sites have secured deals with rights providers when it comes to the sport of tennis. Which basically means that you can watch action from the top ATP and WTA tournaments every week thanks to this service.
A bookmaker generally requires you to have a funded betting account or to have placed a bet recently in order to access the live streaming. This tennis live streaming action can be accessed on a number of platforms including PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
When it comes to the Grand Slam tournaments, then bet365, Paddy Power and BetVictor are among the bookies that also live stream the action. You can watch matches from the show courts at the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon thanks to this live streaming service.
There is generally a way of watching a tennis match and having accompanying live In-Play markets on the same screen, so you don’t have to flick between browsers in order to place bets.
The wonderful thing about the game of tennis is that momentum can lurch from one player to the next very quickly. We’ve all sat down and witnessed some epic matches involving the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer.
Despite recent scandals surrounding tennis betting, the bookmakers continue to get involved with a sport which lends itself pretty well to having a wager. William Hill recently sponsored the 2016 Australian Open and reported a brisk trade despite the fact that high-profile players have been linked to match-fixing.
Hills are one of the bookmakers going after their share of the pie in Australia, with the company reporting over 1,000 new customers on a daily basis while the fortnight-long tournament was taking place.
During the first week of the Australian Open, William Hill saw an uplift of nearly 100% compared to the previous year’s trading, with In-Play betting enjoying an amazing increase of 238% which was mainly attributed to a new app.
Chief executive James Henderson reported: “Internationally, I’m particularly pleased that William Hill Australia is now benefitting from our reshaping and investment in the business.
“We now have one of the highest rated betting apps in Australia and during the William Hill-sponsored Australian Open we acquired an impressive 1,000 customers a day and saw a 680% increase in tennis in-play turnover”.
Indeed, the bookmakers have hit back at allegations that the tennis betting service being offered actually lends itself to corruption. Several leading players including William Hill have served to illustrate that they are working hard to keep the sport clean and be totally transparent with governing bodies when it comes to suspicious betting patterns on the sport.
Coral are one such player and they have been at pains to suggest that attacking a bookmaker offering odds on the outcome of matches is simply pointing the finger in the wrong direction.
“Bookies are an easy target,” Mr Clare said, but “it’s us who stand to lose [from corruption]. With stories like this the concern is that it tarnishes the image of the sport, and that could flow through to customer confidence.”
Ciaran O’Brien, William Hill’s communications director agreed, saying: “It takes a lot to put people off. The allegations are quite old and even if they’re true, it’s still a tiny minority that have been affected. It’s right for people to trust in the sport.”
It makes sense for the bookies to defend their corner with the sport of tennis. After all, those players benefitting from pay-offs to lose or stop trying in a match are far more likely to receive their money from syndicates betting in Asia rather than with a UK-based bookmaker.
Tennis is likely to account for roughly 10% of bookmaker turnover in the UK during the year of 2016. While a quarter of all reports of suspicious activity reported to the Gambling Commission are tennis-related, betting remains popular and several leading players have spoken out over the minority of players who are spoiling it for the rest.
Tennis therefore continues to play a major role for any bookmaker worth their salt, with this sport a constant when it comes to In-Play betting and live streaming. For betting sites wanting to showcase their new apps, they know that tennis tournaments taking place 24/7 mean that there is always something for a customer to bet on.
And therein lies the rub. Sometimes punters are not particularly selective when it comes to placing a sports bet. While some customers will wait for the weekend football to place their accumulators, many actually just want some live streamed sport to enjoy while they place a few In-Play wagers.
Many In-Play tennis betting sites offer special bonuses to customers after they have placed a certain number of bets on the sport. Bet365 have something called a Tennis Accumulator Bonus and multiple bets are popular considering there are regularly so many short-priced favourites.
For example, when Federer, Murray and Djokovic play the early rounds of a tournament, they generally trade at massive odds-on to win their match which means there is no benefit from backing them as a single.